archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Outside Of Boston Metro > Greater New England

Greater New England All things architectural or urban in Greater New England, beyond the boundaries of Boston Metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 02-23-2010, 12:14 PM   #41
found5dollar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 967
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

From http://web.fsc.edu/fscnews/index.cfm?detail=780

Quote:
Fitchburg State continues investment in downtown 02/22/2010

Continuing the investment in downtown Fitchburg, the Fitchburg State College Foundation has purchased the building at 161-181 Main St.

The building, which was owned by Gerard A. Martel, is located at Main and North streets, a major gateway to the Fitchburg State College campus and a key downtown parcel that has long been eyed for economic redevelopment. The college will be demolishing the building and will work with city leaders in marketing the property for appropriate development.

?This effort will give Fitchburg State College a seat at the table with a critical parcel in the city's revitalization plans,? College President Robert V. Antonucci said. ?We look forward to working with developers on the best use for this site, one we hope will offer services for our students while enhancing the city's tax base.

The move also strengthens the college's long-standing commitment to building bridges between the campus and the downtown corridor. Over the last several years, numerous parcels have been bought and demolished along North Street, improving the safety and aesthetics of the corridor. The Recreation Center on North Street and the Campus Police Station on Clinton Street represent just two of the sizable investments the college has made. Last fall the college also opened the Center for Professional Studies on the first floor of the Intermodal Station on Main Street, across the street from the latest acquisition.
This is the "Antiques Row" building someone mentioned a few posts ago. This buy a building, demolish it, build something new, is a big thing going on in fitchburg right now. It is cleaning up the city and it realy only is affecting the run down buildings that can not be rehabed. The city even has a line in their budget for tearing down about 5-8 buildings a year.

There is basicly a wasteland of empty parcels behind this building that there was a plan to build something on before the recesion which obvioulsy has fallen through. With this building coming down as well that is going to make a huge parcel just ripe for transit orientated development. The Commuter rail stop is literaly across the street. If the college tears down a building and does not put anythign up in its place, they have a history of atleast planting grass and leavign it open, not fenced off. Great things could come of this, or fitchburg could just end up with it's own version of the filenes hole.
found5dollar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 06:03 AM   #42
humphrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Oh well. I have got kinda fond of the deplorable 'Antiques Row' building over the years but I think it's time it was put out of it's misery. I suppose the only downside is that it's replacement might be even worse than the original.
humphrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 09:57 AM   #43
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,395
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Newburyport was very successful in restoring its downtown rather than demolishing it piece by piece. Lowell and New Bedford also have a good track record in this area. Why is Fitchburg taking a different path?
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 11:26 AM   #44
humphrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
Newburyport was very successful in restoring its downtown rather than demolishing it piece by piece. Lowell and New Bedford also have a good track record in this area. Why is Fitchburg taking a different path?
Normally I would agree; but the building in question looks like this. Note how it perfectly compliments the 19th Century church opposite it.



Same view in 1868


Last edited by humphrey; 03-01-2010 at 11:36 AM.
humphrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 11:44 AM   #45
Boston02124
Senior Member
 
Boston02124's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dorchester/Boston
Posts: 5,904
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

luv to see that building go!I bought my 1st porn magazine from that building back when it was the fitchburg news building,back in the 80's,whatevers built here will be good for lower main st,my parents were married in that church in 1959!
Boston02124 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 11:47 AM   #46
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,395
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

OK, in this case I'll agree with you -- but only if demolition is held off until a solid development plan emerges.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 12:23 PM   #47
Lrfox
Senior Member
 
Lrfox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,484
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

humphrey, are those the original facades on that building? It kind of looks like a cheaply done attempt at "modernizing" an old facade; something that was all too prevalent in the "Gateway" cities of Massachusetts. If they are, then "ouch." If not, do you know what's underneath?

Of course if that isn't the original facade, then I'd like to see what was originally there before condemning it. My fear is that this will be replaced by a contemporary Walgreens or CVS type building complete with surface lot and "trendy" (but unnecessary) corner entrance. The building pictured above is by no means attractive, but at least it's original. I agree with Ron... wait until a solid replacement plan is established.
Lrfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 03:41 PM   #48
humphrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
humphrey, are those the original facades on that building? It kind of looks like a cheaply done attempt at "modernizing" an old facade; something that was all too prevalent in the "Gateway" cities of Massachusetts. If they are, then "ouch." If not, do you know what's underneath?
I have a picture from the 'Images of America' Fitchburg book which shows the streetscape from Willow street up to the church shown in the picture. It's from the early twentieth/ late 19th century. There was a long three storey building which began at Willow street and contained businesses. It looks like your standard Italianate Anglo-American commercial building but with a plainer facade. Where the 'Antique Row' is today was a couple of separate three storey buildings and a small gap next to the church. This would have been in the days when nearly 100 trains were passing through Fitchburg daily. Depot square was a busy intersection and contained this hotel called 'the American House'

http://www.employees.org/~kjones/american_house.jpg

It was demolished in 1952 and I presume the other buildings bit the dust at the same time. That said they could have been levelled in the 30s as I think that is when one storey commercial buildings came into vogue.
humphrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 02:47 PM   #49
Lrfox
Senior Member
 
Lrfox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,484
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

^thanks. It's a shame some of the originals aren't still there. That photos looks a LOT different from the Fitchburg of today.
Lrfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 09:51 PM   #50
found5dollar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 967
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

I would put money on the college tearing it down without a plan to redevelop it. They have been demolishing the entirity of north street and have really cleaned it up. they are also know to tear stuff down on north street and just let the lot sit empty. There are at lest 2 other lost on the street i know they own and have built nothing except for grass. The school is also pretty good at knowing what should be built. Their new buildings aren't really anything architecturally, but they work well and have good uses.
found5dollar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 10:06 PM   #51
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,395
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Why is the school pursuing such a destructive policy? It's never a good idea to tear down sound buildings and leave vacant lots in their place.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2010, 10:07 AM   #52
humphrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
^thanks. It's a shame some of the originals aren't still there. That photos looks a LOT different from the Fitchburg of today.
The scale of these buildings is pretty impressive. Some of them even contain ballrooms on the upper stories (all gutted now with only the lowest story in use). I did a tour of the building containing 'Tucker Tours' which isn't even the biggest on main street but still has these vast rooms on the upper levels. The attic stories used to be the HQ of the freemasons and you can still see the marks on the door where they would do the 'secret knock' to get in.

Problem is of course that when you have buildings of that size they are harder to maintain; then you have all the fires etc.. that cause damage over time. That said, the Johnsonia is now condos and the Phoenix building is now owned by the Fitchburg Historical Society.

http://www.johnsonia.com/
humphrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2010, 10:21 AM   #53
humphrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
Why is the school pursuing such a destructive policy? It's never a good idea to tear down sound buildings and leave vacant lots in their place.
I think part of the reason is politics. The city and the school have had a bit of a strained relationship in the past. Now the city is trying to encourage the school to move it's 'centre of gravity' more towards downtown and help revitalise it. Part of that involves building a corridor down North Street and - for whatever reason - that means tearing some of the buildings along it (mainly old multi-families and workshops I think) and replacing them with college owned lots and buildings. Antiques row is the logical next step as it's right next to the new station and at the end of the corridor.

Personally I have no problem with them tearing it down. It's so ugly that a patch of grass would be an improvement.
humphrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2010, 10:38 AM   #54
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,395
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

I'm not necessarily against tearing down old buildings, only tearing them down without a plan to build something else quickly.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2010, 10:55 AM   #55
Boston02124
Senior Member
 
Boston02124's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dorchester/Boston
Posts: 5,904
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by humphrey View Post
I think part of the reason is politics. The city and the school have had a bit of a strained relationship in the past. Now the city is trying to encourage the school to move it's 'centre of gravity' more towards downtown and help revitalise it. Part of that involves building a corridor down North Street and - for whatever reason - that means tearing some of the buildings along it (mainly old multi-families and workshops I think) and replacing them with college owned lots and buildings. Antiques row is the logical next step as it's right next to the new station and at the end of the corridor.

Personally I have no problem with them tearing it down. It's so ugly that a patch of grass would be an improvement.
your right
growing up there ,there was always a town vs gown thing going on,maybe getting the college to move stuff closer to downtown will help? I think they should have done it years ago!
Boston02124 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2010, 12:05 PM   #56
found5dollar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 967
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

well i know everyone at the college cheered when they tore down about 3 of the tripple deckers on North street. These were the houses where when you walked by you would get things thrown at you. I have been hit by a half eaten apple, and I remmeber having a friend who was shot by a bb gun when they walked on the other side of the street from the house in question. There were two buildings that the school saved on the street, an apartment building that they turned into apartment-stlye dorms, and another 3-story building with intresting woodwork that they claim will be turned into "Future Academic Offices." Lord knows when that will actualy happen. Basicly if the building is not falling apart and has some architectuaral or logistical merits, the school keeps it. If it does not, they raze it.
found5dollar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2010, 04:02 AM   #57
humphrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

So, the latest news is that the Diocese of Worcester has decided to close half of the Catholic Churches in Fitchburg; including the two largest churches which are St Bernards and The Church of the Immaculate Conception. You can see both buildings on this WBZ report here:

http://multimedia.wbz.com/m/video/29...es-closing.htm

This is St Bernands. My Grandmother in law is devastated this is closing since all her children were baptised/married etc in here.



Interior



Immaculate Conception - Walnut Street



Obviously the Church has to cut costs but I'm more than a little worried about the buildings given the American love of parking lots and the propensity of things to burn down. The neighbourhood St Bernards in is not the best which means reuse of the building will be difficult (the convent at the back is falling down as it is).

Last edited by humphrey; 03-08-2010 at 04:13 AM.
humphrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2010, 09:07 AM   #58
Lrfox
Senior Member
 
Lrfox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,484
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

That's tragic. I just took some shots of a closed catholic church down here. These things are irreplaceable. Hopefully they can find some use for it. I know in Portland and New Bedford churches are reused as restaurants and art galleries; even colleges reuse them. Maybe something like that could happen in Fitchburg?
Lrfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2010, 09:18 AM   #59
found5dollar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 967
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

yup they are tearing it down.


Quote:
Fitchburg State College Today, March 8th

Continuing the investment in downtown Fitchburg, the Fitchburg State College Foundation last month purchased the building at 161-181 Main St.

The building, which had been owned by Gerard A. Martel, is located at Main and North streets, a major gateway to the college campus and a key downtown parcel that has long been eyed for economic redevelopment.
The college will be demolishing the building and will work with city leaders in marketing the property for appropriate development. The closing on the property was Friday, Feb. 19.

"This effort will give Fitchburg State College a seat at the table with a critical parcel in the city's revitalization plans," College President Robert V. Antonucci said. "We look forward to working with developers on the best use for this site, one we hope will offer services for our students while enhancing the city's tax base."

The move also strengthens the college's long-standing commitment to building bridges between the campus and the downtown corridor.

Over the last several years, numerous parcels have been bought and demolished along North Street, improving the safety and aesthetics of the corridor. The Recreation Center on North Street and the Campus Police Station on Clinton Street represent just two of the sizable investments the college has made.

Last fall the college also opened the Center for Professional Studies on the first floor of the Intermodal Station on Main Street, across the street from the latest acquisition.
found5dollar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2010, 10:48 AM   #60
Lrfox
Senior Member
 
Lrfox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,484
Re: Fitchburg Mass.

That article A) makes it Sound more promising and B) has a photo that makes the existing building look worse than the others I've seen.

Good riddance? Hopefully what's built there adds to the urban environment rather than detract from it.
Lrfox is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
JFK U-Mass Boston02124 Development Projects 49 05-16-2017 09:20 AM
Another Mass Exodus!! castevens Boston Architecture & Urbanism 22 12-18-2013 05:05 PM
691 Mass Ave | South End briv Development Projects 241 12-28-2011 01:30 PM
424 Mass Ave justin Development Projects 20 02-07-2007 05:01 PM
Downtown Fitchburg poised for upswing Smuttynose Greater New England 0 09-05-2006 03:44 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.